For as long as they’ve existed, beadlock wheels have been a key ingredient as a racer climbs the horsepower and performance pyramid. With only the air inside the tire providing force to press and contain the bead along the wheels’ edge, a point is reached wherein the tire and the wheel no longer turn as one — the result can be any number of things, from inconsistent reaction times and elapsed times to handling issues at the starting line and downtrack. Nevermind that the tires are more prone to roll off of the wheel in more extreme situations. Beadlocks, however, provide the ultimate in connectivity between the wheel and tire: inner and outer plates sandwich the tire bead, compressed by a series of bolts over its entire circumference.
From nitro and Top Alcohol to Pro Modified and radial-tire racing, beadlocks are standard fare. But even in bracket racing, where horsepower is often lower but consistent reaction and elapsed times are paramount, they have become increasingly more common. And with that have come not only a greater number of beadlock wheel offerings, but beadlock conversion services for those wishing to convert their existing wheels.
Bowling Green, Kentucky-based wheel manufacturer RC Components offers a complete line of front and rear wheels for both race-only and street/strip applications, along with both single- and dual-beadlock rears for those who demand the ultimate in clamping forces with their tires. RC quietly began offering conversion services a year ago, but only recently began advertising them to the public at-large and ramping up those services.
“We didn’t advertise it much because our wheel line is so fast-paced, but we received so many calls from customers wanting it done, and word got out that we do conversions really quick,” noted RC Components Sales & Marketing Representative Tony Bumpus.
RC’s lead-time on beadlock conversions is just three to four days.
But what has drawn so much interest in the conversions from customers to RC’s beadlocks is not the quick turnaround or the price (we’ll get to that in a second), but the design of the beadlocks themselves. On the inner beadlock ring (which welds to the wheel shell) RC has machined “ribs” every .100-inch that run at a left angle to the tire bead. The bolt-on outer ring then features the same ribs, but are machined to run at a right angle. The intent is to create an extreme level of grip on the tire not present in smooth-machined beadlock rings.
The patented beadlock ring design is the second such unique design to RC’s Comp Series race wheels: its wheels also feature a very sleek interlocking design in the billet wheel centers and outer shells that allow the two parts themselves — not the studs — to carry the weight and load of the vehicle.
In regards to price, a pair of single-beadlocks is $695, and two duals will run you $1,150.
RC can perform the conversion on either forged or spun aluminum wheel shells in 15- or 16-inch diameters. Beadlock rings are available in black anodized or polished finishes.